Cross Plains Public Library

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"Cell" by Stephen King

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Stephen King's "Cell," first published n 2007, is now available at the library as an unabridged audio book.  As a quasi-King fan, I was intrigued with the premise of the story: a phenomenon that becomes known as The Pulse is delivered via cellphone - EVERYONE's cellphone.  And The Pulse has a very bad effect on those who use their cellphones (known as "phoners") - it seems to wipe their brain clean and they become mindless bodies who resort to basic animal behavior, murderous and inarticulate, unable to think on their own, surviving on instinct.  The non-cellphone users are surrounded by chaos and carnage, struggling to make sense of the confusion that follows.  The main protagonist is Clay Riddell, who is frantic to get back home to check on his ex-wife and son.  As he travels, he encounters other survivors and they band together, bent on fighting a war against the phoners.  But the phoners start to evolve into... well I won't spoil it for you.

King's ability to bring characters to life is again highlighted in "Cell."  The reader is taken on a roller coaster of emotions felt by the survivors: fear, confusion, anger, frustration, hope, hopelessness, panic, revenge, hatred, compassion.  King brings you into the band of survivors and you end up rooting for them, even though you know things don't look too good for the good guys.  If you enjoyed King's book "The Stand" with its end-of-the-world conflict and survivors banding together to fight evil, you enjoy "Cell."  But this is a very different story in that the "evil" being fought is made up of bodies that were once fellow human beings, and in their evolution seem to become harmless.  Some survivors feel it is best to just leave the bodies alone and not stir up trouble by fighting back, and as such it explores the morality of killing fellow "humans."  It does have some flaws, and a cliffhanging ending, but it is an enjoyable read.

"Cell" is set to become a major motion picture starring Samuel L. Jackson and John Cusack in 2016.  A release date has not been set.  Come to the library and check out the audio book.  Then give us YOUR opinion!

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